I am sitting in the lobby of Taj Palace in Delhi. Ferose is attending the India Today Conclave 2008. I just tagged along for the pure excitement of getting out of home. The last 3 days have been terribly boring since I have been pretty much stuck at home (and that will be the status quo until I get my car). This conference that continues for another 2 days has lotsa biggies giving keynotes/sessions: Al Gore, Farouq Abdullah, Arun Poorie, Aamir Khan, Shekhar Kapoor, Preity Zinta (part of the youth forum), L K Advani, etc etc.....hmmm...so much gyan, and in so many forms. Ferose is one lucky guy.
I have about an hour to kill and fortunately for me, Ferose has left his laptop with me. The last couple of weeks saw me getting entertained in all possible modes. Last Wednesday, we watched the play "Bikhre Bimb", that was part of the Mahindra Theatre Festival. It was directed by Girish Karnad and had only one actor, Arundhati Nag. The play was in Hindi, and I marvelled at Nag's command over the language. Although Hindi is our national language, rarely do I use, or hear anybody else using words like "sahanshilata", "vivek", "akasmat". The play took me back to school days. Those were the days when the only lessons I enjoyed taking were languages. Luckily. most of my language teachers were really good. Reading prose, untangling poetry were such interesting ways to pass time. English text books were divided into prose, poetry and non-detail, the last one always had the most interesting stories. Hindi text books were divided into Parag (prose) and Swati (poetry). I prefered Hindi Poetry to English, because there were much more patriotic and india-based poems written in Hindi. My all time favourite one is "Jhansi Ki Rani" by Subhadrakumari Chauhan...khoob ladi mardani, woh toh jhansi wali rani thi. (I read somewhere that Sushmita Sen is making a film on Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi). The other one that I remember is "Satpuda ke ghane jungle" by Bhavani Prasad Sharma. Among English poems, I only remember a small poem, "Beauty" and I don't remember who wrote it...perhaps Robert Browning.
I have been watching an awful lot of television of late. I generally avoid daily soaps and stick to movies. But I have started watching a weekly soap on NDTV Imagine, called "Radha Ki Betiyan kuch kar dikhaengi". The reason I like it is because it is very similar to "Banegi Apni Baat", one of the earliest serials that was aired after the onslaught of Zee TV in India. I am talking early 90's. This one (also) has 3 sisters living life with a fair amount of struggle. There is one good guy, and one cocky one in the college. The eldest sister is on the lookout of a job. But the icing on the cake is Apoorva Agnihotri who plays a doctor and has an important part. I am a bit frustrated that the serial airs only once a week, so I am usually watching all the reruns until the next episode comes.
Movies: We watched a couple of films last week, but the most interesting one was "Black & White". Firstly I couldn't believe it was a Subhash Ghai film, what with Kisna and Yaadein having flopped big time. The story of "Black & White" revolves around a terrorist from Afganistan who comes to Delhi to blow up the red fort. The terrorist is played by newcomer Anubhav Sinha. He has a mind boggling screen presense, not to mention a voice to die for. So the Ranbirs and Neils better watch out. The music of the film deserves a special mention. Sukhwinder Singh's melodies gel well with the mood of the film. "Jogi Aaya" and "Mian Chala" are breezy tracks that enhance the film. I had also watched "Jodha Akbar" earlier and loved it. Hrithik was awesome and Aishwarya wasn't too bad either. Both looked great. A R Rahman's music was good, though I expected it to be great. "Khwaja Mera Khwaja" & "In Lamhon Ke Daman mein" are my favourites. BTW, did anyone notice that among the fakirs (or sufis) who sing the Khwaja number, there were triplets? I mean the bearded guy and the two clean-shaven guys behind him, looked the same. So either hey were triplets, or it was some SFX effects by Ashutosh Gowarikar!!
Books: I am re-reading Agatha Christie's "Partner in Crime". I also finished reading Khaled Housseini's "A Thousand Splendid Suns". That guy has almost made me cry each time I read his books. This book is based on two women caught in a god-forsaken situation and the unlikely bond that they form in the face of adversity. I would recommend this book to anyone who thinks he/she has had a raw deal in life. The story is depressing, but with a positive ending. It had me thanking my stars for every comfort that I have.
Aah, I have nothing more to say since my stomach has started to rumble....hope Ferose treats me to a good dinner after he is back.
P.S. He DID treat me to a good dinner at "Masala Art" in the Taj. It was sumptuous meal of Lasuni Palak and Garlic Naan.